Document: White House shooter practiced for months
WASHINGTON (AP) — An Idaho man charged with attempting to assassinate President Barack Obama by shooting at the White House practiced with his weapon for six months and may have been upset about the country’s marijuana policy, prosecutors said in a newly filed court document.
Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez is currently awaiting trial for the 2011 shooting, which didn’t injure anyone but left more than five bullet marks on the executive mansion. Prosecutors filed a 14-page court document Tuesday that adds additional detail about Ortega-Hernandez, who allegedly shot at the White House the night of Nov. 11 while the president and first lady were away.
Ortega-Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the attempted assassination charge and to other charges.
In the document, prosecutors said Ortega-Hernandez “expressed anger towards the government regarding the continued criminalization of marijuana,” which they said he acknowledged smoking and claimed makes people more intelligent.
Prosecutors said they will offer evidence to show that Ortega-Hernandez’s motive in shooting at the White House “was to punish and kill the president, who he believed was the head of a government that was oppressing its citizens in various ways, such as by continuing to criminalize the use of marijuana.”
Prosecutors also reiterated previously disclosed information that Ortega-Hernandez repeatedly expressed contempt for Obama, whom he called the antichrist.
Ortega-Hernandez practiced firing the assault rifle used to shoot at the White House at a “desolate crater” outside his home in Idaho Falls, prosecutors said in the document. They said a witness told them Ortega-Hernandez practiced shooting at items including “a home stereo amplifier, an empty ammunition case, a video cassette recorder, and a stereo speaker.”
Ortega-Hernandez fired the assault weapon from his car, a black Honda Accord, and then fled on foot after he crashed it, prosecutors said. They said he was later photographed riding on a freight train headed northwest from Washington. A former FBI photographer who takes pictures of trains as a hobby took the picture and approached law enforcement with it, the document said.
Ortega-Hernandez, who was arrested in Pennsylvania several days after the shooting, told investigators his car was stolen from him at gunpoint the same day as the shooting.
A status conference in the case is set for June 18.